30 March 2016
Postdoc researcher Matthijs van Berkel has received one of the prestigious Engineering Grants from the Horizon2020 programme EUROfusion. Van Berkel (DIFFER and Vrije Universiteit Brussel) will study the processes which leak heat from a fusion reactor, and wants to design control algorithms that can optimize the performance of these future energy plants.
In fusion, energy is produced by transforming mass to energy using lightweight atoms (hydrogen). However, to achieve nuclear fusion in a reactor, it is necessary to sustain high temperatures necessary for the fusion reaction. Therefore, in DEMO, the to-build prototype commercial fusion reactor, control of the heat transport will be crucial to minimize the heat losses such that the high temperatures can be sustained.
Matthijs van Berkel will study the dynamic heat transport properties crucial for the design of control algorithms that minimize heat transport. He will develop new estimation techniques to assess the dynamic transport properties and the building of control oriented models. An important aspect of his research is the creation of new temperature perturbations/waveforms through the careful timing and positioning of high-power microwave systems. These will be applied in experiments foreseen to take place at the fusion reactors ASDEX Upgrade (Germany) and Large Helical Device (Japan).